tv [untitled] October 2, 2010 2:30pm-3:00pm PST
do the honors. >> it was an extraordinary commitment the public made when it passed not one bond, but two bombs. what a contrast is to be in san francisco in spite of this huge budget challenge where we are actually expanding our hours of the last 12 months, of expanding them on the evenings and on sundays and investing in unprecedented amounts of capital and improving the physical conditions of the library. we're proud of that, and it is important to reflect on that. i do not know of another city that can lay claim, so i am
proud to be here and thankfully to the time to be here and it is an honor for me. it is the second time to appoint a poet laureate to our city, and this is going back to the previous administration, when lawrence ferlinghetti took the baton. he has now passed it on, officially, from jack kirsch men to diane as our fifth poet laureate. you would have thought that it must have gone on longer. but i am proud of it. as was jack, and i do not see him here, of his stewardship. jack and i did not always agree
on every issue, and i went into this with some risk that i would be scorned even after appointing him. i would never have appointed him if i thought it would change his tenor. quite the contrary. i have admired him even more because he did an outstanding job as a steward of that position and really democratized the position even more reaching out into the neighborhood and also reaching out around the world in international issues, internationalizing our status. that is really important, raising the bar, also. he had a strategy of going deep into the community and broadening debt strategy in a broader context. i look for to extending that tradition which our new po gloria. i have had the privilege of reading through not only poetry
but a lot of opinions that opinion-makers have, and lot of letters, and lot associated with this. we have asked them to go out and consider who the best candidates with the, they came back, and it is never an easy decision. with the names come stacks of books. they allow you no time to read through, but plenty of information is provided. these commissioners go through as well and basically, they either reinforce or redirect the work group tasked with identifying key names. our poets laureate we are announcing today is familiar to me not just in this round but was also right there with jack as a name that i was going back and forth for as it relates to the decision we made a number of
years ago. and you never know with the right decision is. but i in deed was a very pleased to see his name back in the mix, because i felt horribly guilty. it was a tough decision last time and i just thought because jack is so negative in my campaign, it is so corporate that he be the right person the first time. i do not want to say that is as simple a decision, but he deserved it, but we also thought we would go there first. so i was very pleased, as i said, to see diprima. i have learned so much about your background and history and family and wanted to share a little of that with you. i thought i would write some
things down so i would get it right. some of them you do not want to hear, most of them you do. for those of you unfamiliar with diane, she was going in brooklyn, new york, 190034, not too many years ago. second generation american of italian descent. she began writing at age 7. she probably was ready before then, but formally at age 7 committed herself to a life of poetry. she found what she loves. she lived and wrote in manhattan for years and became very well known as a writer of the beat movement. for the past 34 years, she has lived and worked, wisely, in northern california.
68. that is about when i started life. [laughter] so, for the past 40 years, she took part in political activities with the diggers. she studied zen and tibetan buddhism, sanskrit and alchemy, raised five remarkable children. unbelievable. an author of remarkable 43 books. there on my desk, as well, including "pieces of the soul. " her language has been translated, and she received an award of lifetime achievement in
1993. congratulations. well done. in the spring of 2000, she was a master poet in residence at columbia college in chicago. in 2002, issue as one of three finalists not just for this position but the primary position in our great state of california. allen ginsberg wrote a wonderful few words about it. i struggle to read it. i want to appreciate it. how revolutionary activist, 1960's beat literary renaissance, a road in life and politics. humorous, both union -- bohemian, 20 century radical,
the equanimity exemplary in political and mystical moats. a great woman poet, the second half of the american century. she delivered a major body of verse, brilliant in its particular day. as a dyslexic, those words were more difficult than they may appear. particularity. i love that. it is an honor to formally announced we already informally announced, our fifth pole of laureate in our great city and county of san francisco, diane diprima. congratulations and welcome. [applause]
>> wow, look at all of these folks. are any of you one of my five kids? [laughter] i just wanted to be very brief, because we're going to do a more formal inaugural thing, and inaugural event, so i'm not going to take a lot of time now. there is a lot of stuff going on at 11 in the morning in san francisco. people have to do this and that. so, ok. chris, i want to thank you very much. it is very wonderful to follow lauren, devora major, and jack hirschman. what a group.
i really am awed. i cannot remember which marian was that gave the keys to the city to robert duncan. those were the days before we had poet laureates, but there was that one acknowledgement. i wanted to remember that. and libraries. i would be dead if it were not for libraries. they were shelter, information, everything he could not find out of school -- you could not find out at school. a place to be. in second grade, my father took me six blocks from my house to the carroll street library and home again. shhe said, "you have your card. you are on my own." that was a delightful experience. i started to read my way through sections, and that is what i
would do, until i discovered poetry and then i did not read my way through any other section. in a poem, you could hold inconsistency. i could not understand what it bothered with fiction. i read some and liked it, but the world was so much more complex than any fiction book i ever read except maybe the tale of benji. it was where you could go when it was too late in the house, which is, having an american family -- 99% of the time it was too crazy in the house. it was good to have that. i am hoping to do lots of stuff in libraries. my dream is to do things with little kids, things look older people, and having a right to
write. i'm hoping to be able to do some of that. i am here -- i hope i will be here to serve the city. this is a great city, and in 1961 i had flown out to visit michael mcclure and stay with him. i was a single mother and came out on a prop plane that was supposed to get me to san francisco but got me to burbank, a little distance away, with a 4-year-old daughter. and i knew this was where i needed to be. coming and going was -- it was in my books. a move that permanently and thought of it -- my crazy
husband, we took him back to the east coast. i shipped him to india and moved back out. i got a house at the panhandle of the park for $300 a month and have been here ever since. i think of it as the city, but the city to meet its most the people. very, very, very different kinds of people and poetry happening, all of the music and arts. it is just a wonder. you can never be board here. you can never not find out something. i am willing to jump into that and be of used to it. and most of all, to just serve poetry. i had a dream a week ago.
it was shown to me that all the work ever written is -- we are writing on the same, one, big piece. and it does not matter where we stop, because it is like, oh, my god, i have to finish this section, this big piece. and it is happening. we're already on this huge monster peace in time and space and have no idea what it is. it is so wonderful. and so, my deepest services to poetry and humans and i think i can be used to that and useful to people. [applause]
i will read only two polls. one of when is remember the sense of being here in the 60's, when the first parts -- last night, my son or my car and went down to somewhere. that is probably why he is not here. this is a poem for pigpen. and then i want to rea signature 0, col grant. so this is just worn out. can i have that water? thanks. for pigpen. at the edge of the tongue, at
the edge of the brain, it was velvet at the edge of history. sound was light like tracing leters with your toe on the ballroom. they came and went, guests, like the great gatsby, and wondered at the music. aurora borealis over a cemetary, a bark, a howl. at the edge of history, and there was no time. shouts traced circles of breath, all futures. time was light and sound spilled out of it, flickered and fell under blue windows, faults gone and too much wind. we come round, make circles, blank as a clock,
still velvet damage on the edge of history. >> and this belongs to a book on evolutionary letters. it is called grandpa. -- it is called "rant." the word palace was a greek city-state. you cannot write a single line without a cosmology a cosmogony laid out before all eyes. there is no part of yourself you can separate out saying, this is memory, this is sensation, this is the work i care abuot, this is how i make a living.
it is whole, it is a whole, it always was whole. you do not make it so there is nothing to integrate, you are a presence, you are an appendage of the work, the work stems from hangs from the heaven you create every man, every woman carries a frimament inside and the stars in it are not the stars in the sky without imagination there is no memory without imagination there is no sensation without imagination there is no will, desire history is a living weapon in your hand and you have imagined it. it is thus that you find out for
yourself, history is the dream of what can be, it is the relation between things in a continuum of imagination. what you find out for yourself is what you select out of the infinte sea of possibility no one can inhabit your world, yet it is not lonely. the ground of imagination is fearlessness. discourse is videotape of a movie of a shadow play, but the puppets are in yr hand, your counters in a multidimensional chess which is divination and strategy. the war that matters is war against the imagination all other wars are subsumed in
it. the ultimate famine is the starvation of the imagination. it is death to be sure, but the undead seek to inhabit someone else's world the ultimate claustrophobia is the syllogism. the ultimate claustrophobia is "it all adds up" nothing adds up and nothing stands in for anything else. the only war that matters is the war against the imagination. the only war that matters is the war against the imagination. all other wars are subsumed in it. there is no way out of the spiritual battle
there is no way you can avoid taking sides there is no way you cannot have a poetics no matter what you do: plumber, baker, teacher you do it in the consciousness of making or not making yr world you have a poetics: you step into the world like a suit of readymade clothes or you etch in light your firmament spills into the shape of your room the shape of the poem, of yr body, of yr loves a woman's life, a man's life is an allegory dig it. there is no way out of the spiritual battle the war is the war against the imagination. you can't sign up as a
conscientious objector the war of the worlds hangs here, right now, in the balance it is a war of this world, to keep it a vale of soul-making the taste in our mouths is the taste of power and it is bitter as death. bring yrself home to yrself, enter the garden the guy at the gate with the flaming sword is yrself the war is the war for the human imagination and no one can fight it but you and no one can fight it for you the imagination is not only holy, it is precise. it is not only fierce, it is practical men die everyday for the lack of
it, it is vast and elegant. intellectus means light of the mind it is not discourse, it is not even language the inner sun the polis is constellated around the sun the fire is central. thank you. [applause] thank you. >> there will be no starvation of the imagination with you at the helm. i want to take a moment to recognize our library commissioners. rodney chin, larry chang, thank you for joining us. and laura majors is here, thank
you for joining us. and janet. where is jenna? -- janet? -- janice. janice, thank you. another poet laureate. thank you. wonderful. and in closing, our appreciation. we owe you a great debt of gratitude. we look for to the inaugural event with diane diprima. thank you very much, and have a great day.
>> welcome to the department of building inspection brown bag lunch. today we have an extremely special event. we are here at paige glass on mission street in san francisco with mr. ken paige. ken paige has generously invited us into his glass shop and gallery. and the paige glass goes back a long, long time, right? to preearthquake, whichever earthquake -- >> all of them. they're all good. >> when did paige glass start? >> the big one, 1906. >> this happened afs